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Jewish World Review Feb. 27, 2002 / 15 Adar, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- The latest terrorist advisories have brought home a startling fact, at least to me: My kids -- all young -- have reached the conclusion that terrorism is a natural thing, that the appearance of bad people bent on indiscriminate murder is as much a fact of life as the rise and fall of the sun, the arrival and departure of seasons and the periodic shifting of the tides.

This is an awful thing.

Most of us parents spend a great deal of time trying to persuade youngsters that there isn't really a bogeyman under the bed, no gremlins in the closet -- and that the march from childhood to maturity ought to be happy, busy, exciting; built at all times on a firm foundation of serenity and love. We try to assure them that no matter what else life might bring, home is a haven, warm and secure -- free of the dark, vague fears that plague children's dreams.

You want to know why we have to win the war on terror, so we can put the bogeyman to rest forever.

Eric Bergoust isn't a household name, unless you're a devotee of freestyle aerial skiing.

That's a sport in which competitors whiz down a steep hill at speeds approaching 70 miles per hour, launch themselves from an arched ramp, attain heights of 50 feet or more while performing an assortment of flips and turns -- and then hurtle back to the slope, where they must land without falling.

Bergoust won a gold medal four years ago at the Nagano Winter Olympics, and in this year's Salt Lake City Olympic competition, he stood atop the standings after the first of two jumps.

But then a Czech skier performed a maneuver never before completed in competition, forcing Bergoust to choose between a safe jump and a show stopper. He chose the latter, flinging himself high while completing two flips and four full rotations.

But then he landed on his pants -- and finished twelfth of twelve.

He explained later, "I just didn't want to get second. I wanted to get either first or last, and I got last."

Ladies and gentleman, that's the definition of a winner.

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